Integrating flock/young chicks sleeping outside of coop


6 Years
Mar 30, 2014
Hey all. So my husband and I finaly moved the 4 - 11 week olds out to the run. Unfortunately one is smaller than the others so the 3 existing hens have been picking on her. So, we built them a play pen inside their inclosed run with a dog crate for a makeshift coop for now. Hoping they'll only be in there for a couple of weeks before we can let them run around with the big girls. Anyways, they are not sleeping in their makeshift coop. They're all piling on one another against the fence. Is this okay? Or do I need to make another game plan? The lows at night are like 50. We live in Oregon.

Also, one of the recently moved chickens sneezed a couple times in front of me when I was out with them. My husband went out at night to check on them and heard no sneezes. They've only been out for 3 nights. They seem to enjoy it out there during the day but get scared at night :( Besidss the sneezes, everything else is fine. Eating, drinking and such. Should I be worried?!

Thanks everyone!!

Tried to post a picture of their set up but it won't let me.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

Integration of new chickens to flock.

Consider medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article
Poultry Biosecurity
BYC 'medical quarantine' search

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading:

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